I quite regularly browse through /r/seduction on Reddit, and often submit my blog posts there (thanks for the upvotes everyone). Recently, one of the /r/seduction moderators, a guy using the handle of TofuTofu started a kickstarter project to fund his new book Above the Game. I haven’t really read his stuff, but he didn’t strike me as a huge asshole, so I silently wished him luck in his endeavour.
However, yesterday Jezebel caught wind of his kickstarter, and found some quotes from his book that they used to justify saying his book “recommends sexual assault”. Here are the quotes they use to justify their position.
Get CLOSE to her, damn it!: To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! ”
“All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”
“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”
“Sex: Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”
TofuTofu has deleted the original Reddit posts that would provide the context for these quotes, so all we have is the statements as they were quoted in the original article.
I have two recurring nightmares about my job as a Dating Coach. The first is that some idiot takes my “be confident, bold and assertive” advice and uses it as an excuse to hurt some poor young woman. The other nightmare I have is that an army of hysterical feminists accuse me of being a professional rapist because I teach guys to make a move. I feel kind of bad for TofuTofu.
But, looking at his quotes in the context I’ve been given them, I can’t condone what he says. Specifically, you should not “force her to rebuff your advances” – if your advances are being rebuffed, you should back off. I don’t advise guys to ask for permission by saying “can I kiss you, can I put my arm around you, etc”, but you should be always aware of her comfort zone and move forward slowly and deliberately, so she has an opportunity to see what you’re up to and go along with it or not. And if you sense (or are told) that the woman you’re with is uncomfortable, you should back off – a truly confident guy knows he’s not in a hurry, and that backing off doesn’t hurt his chances.
The /r/seduction controversy
I see this whole controversy from the lens of being a guy who was once paralyzed by my own insecurity, and afraid of expressing my sexuality lest I be seen as some sort of creep. The idea that I could make a move, and be assertive, and that women would be turned on by this was mindblowing to me. My problem when I was younger was that I was blind to the “yes’s” that I got from women, and took “not yet’s” and “try harder’s” as complete rejections. I knew how to recognize when a woman wasn’t into me and when she was uncomfortable, what I didn’t know was how to recognize when she WAS comfortable, and waiting for me to hit on her. So I’m inclined to see TofuTofu’s advice as an honest mistake, good advice that simply wasn’t worded the right way, and didn’t have the proper caveats. The vast majority of the guys who go to sites like /r/seduction for advice are guys who are smart enough and decent enough that they would never dream of forcing themselves on a girl who was actually not into them, but this is the internet, and you shouldn’t presume that everyone who reads what you write is always smart and decent, especially when important things are at stake.
Of course, to see the controversy from this way, you need to have compassion and empathy for men, especially awkward men who are trying to improve themselves. That’s easy for me, because I’ve been there before. But, if there’s one thing that I think is wrong with modern feminism, it’s that it encourages women to close off their compassion for men. When you say men are oppressors, or that they’re “privileged” you’re declaring them unworthy of your compassion and empathy, and you can see that attitude in the way feminists react to people who disagree with them.
When you close off compassion to people, you lose your ability to understand them, you lose your ability to empathize with them, and you start yourself down the path towards hatred. I’m not a feminist, not because I don’t agree with the ideals of equality for women, but simply because for my entire life I have heard feminists talking about men in a way that makes it clear to me that they don’t understand me at all, or anyone I know. You can’t convince a person of something unless you first understand the way they think and see the world, and that’s why feminists have a hard time convincing people like myself of anything.
I try to teach empathy. I try to teach guys how to understand what a woman is feeling by watching the signals she gives, how she reacts to a tease or a light touch on the arm, and to make the appropriate moves. I try to teach them how to learn the difference between a girl who likes them but is shy, and a girl who is simply not into them. I try to teach them when to recognize when it’s time to make a bold move, and when it’s not. It’s hard (perhaps impossible) to put in writing, and difficult to teach. Guys screw up sometimes. But the real way you learn empathy is by having a decent model of how people work, and then gaining a lot of experience in interacting with those people (perhaps by chatting them up in bars).
Empathy isn’t easy. Time spent sitting in front of the computer or with your head stuck in a book, or spending time with people who are just like you are killers for empathy. Going out and interacting with people you would never otherwise meet and having fun and being uninhibited and sexy and romantic and trying new things are creators of empathy.
That’s why, I think what we teach at Love Systems is good for men. It’s not the manuals or tactics that make a difference in people’s lives, but the practice of going out and talking to people and flirting and creating a connection with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s about having your idea of the other sex based on reality and real experiences, and not on some simplifications or theories in some book or some blog.
I think that’s a good thing. And I’m not going to apologize for it.